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Footfairy, Review: Feet loosened and fancy freed

You won’t get it at first reading. The adage is ‘foot-loose and fancy free’. But my take on it is in the context of the serial murder mystery, in which the killer strangulates the victim with a plastic bag, causing asphyxia and then saws off her feet. Yes, her feet. Feet loosened and fancy (life) freed. He does more, like dumping the body in a suit-case, not far from the scene of the crime.

Since the victim is always a young woman, any dumb-wit will have to consider the sex/rape angle. That is soon ruled out, for no such evidence is seen. And since he saws off her feet and takes them away, it could be some-one with a foot-fetish. Rather late in the film, they bring in a burger joint owner, who lives like the phantom. None of his staff know anything about him, but the police discover that he is from Goa, and often visits the place. What’s more, there have been two such cases there, in Mapusa, Goa, not far from where this burger stays. He is known to comment about his female clientele’s feet, and frequent a nail spa. Every month, he disappears for 4-5 days. Enough to nail him? No says the Commissioner of olice. Gut feel says Inspector Vivaan Deshmukh. They manage to get a search warrant and detain him, but to no avail. Meanwhile the fourth (or was it fifth?) footsie murder takes place, and this time it is Vivaan’s teenage neighbour.

The murders all take place near the railway tracks in Bandra, Mumbai, and except for the fact that the victims have visited the burger joint at least once, there is nothing common among them. Like all good murder mysteries, the police are looking for a motive and the serial killer. They don’t make much headway in either direction, and Vivaan is distraught. There enters another player in the scenario, an army-man’s daughter who takes an instant liking to bachelor boy Vivaan. Oh no! There are no songs and dances, and that is one of the mercies of film. She declares, almost in declamatory style, that Vivaan need not worry about her, and she is an expert at self-defence. However, there are minutes and minutes of boring police routine that lead nowhere. I understand that is how it could have transpired in a real police case, but cinema has a concept of editing. Why should the audience suffer the walking, talking, sleeping, waking that the police characters do?

By targeting girls only at or near a particular spot, Mr. Foot Fetish had made things so easy. Get the railway police in on the case, patrol the area in strong numbers, and give a strong advisory to girls to avoid the red zone. Nothing of the sort is done. As expected, Vivaan is woken-up with the news that Mr. FF has been in action again. Mr. Fetisher is smart, though. Wears a cap and a hood. Ask any CCTV camera to decipher that image! Then again, there is no real collaboration with the Goa police, except the bit of news that Berger lives close to the spot where the two victims’ corpses were found.

All this is moving to what end? A killer who gets caught and a motive that is revealed. It’s not. Can’t recall when was the last time I saw a movie in which a serial killer is not caught and the motive not explained. But wait a minute. Are they planning a killer serial…I mean serial killer, where the story continues? In which case they are right on the track. Not likely at all, since this is a direct to TV release. But let me not get into the climax. It’s so childish that they have actually used a child to mouth crucial lines.

Dialogue by Ashish Prakash Verma does not raise the level of the film. Screenplay, written and directed by Kanishk Verma, Footfairy has an even flow, but the flow is tedious. There are occasional points of excitement, sadly, not leading anywhere. The idea of a surprise ending would have been interesting had the surprise been defined. A surprise can also be a major let-down, as Footfairy proves. Credits include Sound Design by Avinash Sonawane, Creative Director Arvind Singh Rajput, DOP Pratik Deora and Editor Sumit Purohit.

Gulshan Devaiah walks through his role as Vivaan Deshmukh, undistinguished. Kunal Roy Kapur, in special appearance, as Joshua, the owner of the burger joint, does well. Sagarika Ghatge makes a cherubic presence. The three side-kicks of Vivaan are fit in their places, with little to really contribute to the proceedings. Yogesh Soman as the Commissioner (Deputy?) does not exude the authority that comes with the position. Playing the never visible Footfairy is Shahnawaz Alam. When the song comes over as the titles are ending, you are more interested in hitting the stop button than enjoying the poetry which was written as the theme song.

Footfairy is not a fairy tale by far, nor is it a footstep in the right direction.

Rating: **